Ok, so I don't know if you have to be mentally impaired to write a Top Director list, or all the authors I just read through simply happen to be. I did a little bit of supplemental research while prepping this article, & surprisingly these top 2 guys didn't show up on any other list I read. Talk about 'Fake News' & 'Media Conspiracies', You'll know who these next 2 guys are immediately & understand why they've gotten the 1 & 2 spot without any question.
By all technical accounts, this guy almost belongs at #1, & I only put him at #2 because I don't hear him discussed quite as much in Film Forums or Movie News, but he's undoubtedly prolific. A big earner & seller of major studio headliners, namesake of the style known as 'Bayhem', Blockbuster aficionado with plenty of work in Film & Television, a super consistent Hit maker who's been churning out success after success for the past 20+ years, Michael Bay. Producer of 47 titles & Director of 21, there are too many to list here but his highlights are The Rock, Bad Boys I & II, Armageddon, Pain & Gain, the Transformers franchise & 13 Hours. He also Produces the fantastic Television series, Black Sails along with The Last Ship, Billion Dollar Wreck & a number of other films.
Once again I've got to mention the absolutely absurdity & complete empty-headedness of some other 'Top Director' authors. I mean, how could you miss this guy? Slaying it since 2000 with hit after hit, mastermind of 2 separate Galaxy reboots, A man who's got an aesthetic flair that carries his name, The 'prodigal son' & 'conquering lion' of modern day Hollywood, of course, JJ Abrams.
One of the most prolific & successful filmmakers of our present day landscape, JJ Abrams is basically the Spielberg of the new millennium.....Ok, maybe he's not Spielberg, but he's about 90% there, & he's doing now what Spielberg did in the 80's. High quality, A grade cinema targeted towards & smashing it in a global market.
Technically, with more Producer credits, 57, but less Directing credits, 12, than Michael Bay (21), there might be a little debate about who really deserves the #1 Directing title on this list. With all the fan fair surrounding Televisions hit series Lost, master-minding both Star Trek and Star Wars, plus a slew of other hits I'll say JJ edges into the top slot comfortably.
How JJ could not be mentioned in, or at the top of every other Movie Director list on the internet is beyond my comprehension, but its obviously a mistake or crime. The guys got more work & more blockbusters than any other film maker since 2000. As a Writer, Director & Producer in both TV & Film, JJ Abrams is one of, or possibly the top Filmmaker of our present day landscape.
He doesn't get exactly the same buzz he did in the 80's & 90's, but I've got to give him his props. He's still putting out a lot of consistent hits year after year (& he's the Producer / Executive Producer of a large % of the movies mentioned in this list) so, although I'm not placing him at the ' #1 top' of this new millennium list, he certainty isn't at the bottom of it. He's still miles ahead of any of the previously mentioned filmmakers. Number of films Directed / Produced. Number of Blockbusters. Some of these guys are up into 20, almost 30 solid hits in their careers, while Steven Spielberg's IMDB page puts his film accomplishments at a staggering 162 Producer credits & 56 Director credits. It kind of makes the rest of these guys look like pups nipping at his heels.
While I feel like this numerical list has been focused more on popular hits of the past 17 years, Spielberg's definitely made some notable Directing contributions in that time frame as well. To gloss over with a few highlights I'll just mention Catch Me If You Can, 2002, Munich 2005 & Bridge of Spies 2015, but he's got 10 other big films in that time line with more on the way. I'll also point out his 70 producing credits in that same time frame.
Overall, I'll stand by JJ's #1 placement, mostly because of the 'pop culture' spotlight he commands these days, but I still have to put Spielberg up there where he belongs. In a category all his own, lets call it the '#A Top Filmmaker', Steven Spielberg.